Vancouver 2011: dousing the Olympic flame

I’m on a screaming tight book deadline and an even more pressing CP deadline but I have one thing to say about last night in Vancouver.
Shame on these hooligans creeps who left such a black mark on such a beautiful city. Billions of marketing dollars rained on this impressive Olympic town the past few years, showcasing it as a vibrant and progressive travel destination, a playground, and these punks literally set it all on fire.
There’s some petty regional snickering working into the Twitter-feed today. Some of it funny: “At least Toronto doesn’t ever have to worry about a sports riot,” quipped B.J. Del Conte.
Many today are also dismissing this as the work of a few criminals. More troubling, to me at least, is the possibility that this is symptomatic of something more widespread and sinister in the true north strong and free.
It’s one thing for a few cement heads to bring shame to a city over a sporting event. But how do you go from bar baiting and name calling to blatant, mindless, mob-driven looting and violence?
Canada–a subset of certain Canadians?–seems so obsessed with being perceived as “world class” that it is today being re-evaluated as classless around the world. American friends on Facebook in the last 12 hours are leaving status messages such as “Vancouver? Really?”
Tim Goodman and others have written in the past about the “Dumbassification” of America, the social spiral down that enables Kardashians to be celebrated for being Kardashians and oddballs and egomaniacs to take serious runs at the White House. Canadians have always been rather smug about that, but aren’t we also sliding towards some sort of “Assholeification” ourselves? Are we allowing our children to accept the notion that. by embracing the least noble and most aggressive tendencies of American culture–some sort of steroid-fueled form of flag waving jingoism–we are somehow stronger and more relevant as a nation?
The talented Canucks tried this approach on the ice and blew it. In the end, it just wasn’t them. Even if it had worked, winning ugly wasn’t really what any true hockey fan wanted.
Let it be a warning to us all. “Beat ’em in the alley, beat ’em on the ice” never meant beat ’em in the streets. We have to ask, where is this anger coming from? Stand on guard Canada.

One Response to “Vancouver 2011: dousing the Olympic flame”

  1. Kardashians?
    I had channeled surfed over to E-talk on the main CTV channel last weekend. Ben was busybodying over 17-year old(!) Bieber’s sleeping arrangements with his girlfriend during his much followed hometown visit.

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